Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rethinking a "Blue" Day.

First things first. I'm going to lead off today with the lovely Bushism for Tuesday, May 1, 2007.

"I want you to know that farmers are not going to be secondary thoughts to a Bush administration. They will be in the forethought of our thinking." - Salinas, California; August 10, 2000.

Ok, now that the Bushism is out of the way, let me ask a question that has no bearing at all on what I was thinking about writing. Why, after I insert something here using a color, bold and italics and then change it back to the black, click off the bold and italics, does the darned font stay in BOLD AND ITALICS? I can't for the life of me figure that one out! Oh well, the bold is easier for my old, almost worn-out eyes to read anyway!

Now, what was it I was thinking about?

Ever have one of those days when you get up and you feel ok but yet you don't feel ok? Not sick, but just blah or very much on the "blue" side of life maybe? That's about how I was today when I got up and it lasted for the bulk of the morning, well into the afternoon. I used to blame those feelings on the old standard - PMS - but since I am well beyond that phase of my life, maybe it is PPMS - Post-PMS?

I think what helped to bring me out of this little funk is that I didn't have the two little ones from 10:30 this morning till almost 4 p.m. They were at the babysitter's place so I took advantage of the freedom and went shopping. I had to be home before 3:45 though because Mandy had to be at work at 4 p.m. so my shopping "spree" wasn't all that long but it was long enough I guess in that I came home with some things I had forgotten I needed to pick up till a friend of mine from high school called me yesterday and that got my back to remembering a bit.

I like to sew but I'm not an expert at it and I don't like to mess with fancy sewing. I'm not that far advanced in my sewing knowledge to tackle really intricate stuff. But one thing I do like to make are really nifty little bibs for babies and toddlers. They're really easy to make as long as you can find the darned components you need for them. All you need to make one is a nice little fingertip towel - or a soft dishtowel (terrycloth) and some cotton knit rib trim. But finding fingertip towels can be a difficult process and locating cotton knit rib trim these days is almost impossible.

When my two younger kids were small, I took a course at a small fabric/sewing shop that used to exist in State College on how to sew with knit fabrics. It was a great class - kind of like the "Stretch 'n Sew" course and you learned too how to make your own patterns for tee shirts, turtleneck and cowl neck shirt as well as custom fitted slacks using really nice double-knit fabrics that were really popular back then. The instructors also taught us nice little tricks on how to insert elastic into a waistband by sewing it in or how to put the really narrow elastic in the sleeves of blouses and dresses for little girls that made the sleeve puff up so nice too. Easy tips that made sewing lots of things much more of a breeze.

Back then, you could find all kinds of cotton knit fabric that makes up into wonderful tee shirts and you could also find lots and lots of the cotton knit rib trim fabric too so you could easily match up the trim to your fabric and make tee shirts and turtlenecks that could rival some of the childrens namebrand clothing - like Carter's and Healthtex. And do it for half the price too which made spending the time sewing still a very economical move to cloth your kids -and yourself too.

Today, if you can find cotton knit fabrics even at the fabric stores (i.e. Joanne Fabrics -it's the only kind that exists in this area but requires a drive of at least 35-40 plus miles to the nearest one to where I live) you are lucky! They used to have really great selections of children's prints in the cotton knits as well as really nice prints suitable for adults too but today, finding anything in that type of fabric is really a hard thing to shop for. And even if you do find some nice cotton knit, try locating any rib trim to match up with it! If the store does carry any rib trim, odds are it will only be available in black or white - once in a blue moon, you can find some in red or a dark green but those finds are pretty rare.

The last time I went shopping at a fabric store and came across some nice cotton knit ribbing fabric, I bought a piece about 3 or 4 yards in length in white just so I would have SOMETHING I could use with most any fingertip or dishtowel when I want to make the bibs I mentioned above. And, on the rare occasions I manage to find solid colored cotton knit fabric (for tee shirt type items), I generally try to get a yard more than I need for the item so I will then have a little bit of a stash of sorts of fabric I can, in a pinch, use for necklines. That works ok usually for a crewneck but it depends on the weight of the fabric if it will work ok for use as a turtleneck.

On my little spree today, I lucked out and found several fingertip towels that I can use to make up some bibs, along with about six dishtowels that the design on them won't be too outlandish to use for a toddler's bib. I even lucked out at Walmart and found some cotton knit -on sale at $1.00 a yard - in a sort of denim blue color/appearance to the fabric which will work ok for use as rib trim too! A bonus day! So I got enough of the fabric to use to make tee shirts for the two little ones and still have plenty of fabric leftover for my needs to make crew neck or turtleneck openings for the bibs I want to make up with the towels.

My friend had asked me about a month ago if I would or could possibly make up a couple more of these bibs for her. I had sent her one a little over two years ago before her granddaughter was born and she told me how much she and her daughter both like using this bib because it slips on over the child's head easily, covers a wide area of their clothing plus, since they are made of soft terry cloth, they are very easy to launder - a factor ultra important when dealing with clothing of most any type for babies and little kids! Until she called me yesterday, I had darned near forgotten I had said I would make some up and bring them with me to our class reunion a month from now. Good thing she reminded me, huh?

Shopping when I have a mission in mind takes my mind off other things that might be kind of bogging me down at the time and that's what happened today as I went searching for some towels that would work up nicely. I found some at the "Dollar Tree," a few more at Ollies and now, I have 17 towels to make up into bibs.

My friend suggested I should make these bibs and take them to craft shows or flea markets and sell them. I've made some things in the past that I was able to sell over in State College - where I used to work - or at a craft show in Altoona, but as far as flea markets or crafts show nearer to where I live, trying to sell hand-made items often is like the kiss of death!

For some reason, people in this section of the state seem to be of a mind that if something is hand-made, the person making it should pay the person who wants the item - just to take it off their hands! Or, they expect the pricing to be the equivalent of something you would sell at a yard sale for used items.

It really irritates the heck out of me that these folks see no value in the time I spent making an item. Even though I can usually whip up a bib in a little less than an hour, after I subtract for the cost of the towel, thread, ribbing, etc., and if I charge $3.50 for the bib, I am still only making roughly $1.00 for myself - for my time - and that depends too on how much I have to pay for the towels in the first place.

Therefore, I don't usually make and sell these things but would rather make them and give them as gifts to friends and/or family who have just had a new baby or have a toddler in the house. The thought that others wouldn't see any value to my time if I charged for these tends to rile me and then too, it also depresses me too as it plays right into the feelings one gets at times of worthlessness.

But to make them and give them to people who I know like them, use them, appreciate them, gives me a totally different perspective then.

So now you know what I'll be doing every chance I get here after the kids are in bed or days they are at the sitter's place, don't you?

Yep - sewing my little fanny off, making baby bibs! Good thing not only is my friend's daughter having her second baby this August (and she wants some for the two-year-old as well as for the new baby) but I have several cousins who will be adding grandchildren to their families this summer and fall too and I know they understand the value and usefullness of these items too.

And that just makes me feel much better!


TomCat said...

It the text stays in bold and italics, drag your cursor across all the text you want to change to highlight it and then click whatever you want to turn off.

Debo Blue said...

You should publish pictures of the bibs for us all to see!

PS-ever thought about selling them on eBay?

masgblog said...

re my snazzy shoes...we have a store here called The Shoe Company which has more shoes than you could ever dream of...all kinds, all brands....makes for a lot less walking....

lattégirl said...

It is true that in most cases, hand-crafted items never sell for the value of the time spent making them. Some exceptions apply, for those who can get away with it (e.g. are independently wealthy and can afford to charge the true price): stained glass and traditional quilts are two examples. I keep eyeing quilts at local shops and they start at $250. Even then, you have to wonder if that price is actually low?! I have no idea.

Many years ago I had a short-lived sideline (short, to go with my attention span) making leather belts. This was back in the crazy 80s, when studs and oversized belts were really cool. I made a few belts for myself and got compliments on them, so I started making and selling them to friends. I was always kind of shy to actually sell them, because I thought they were vastly inferior to a perfectly finished fashion belt from a store, but surprisingly, they sold.

I put in many more hours of labour than was actually worth it, in the end, but it sure was a lot of fun while it lasted. :)

I didn't mean to talk about me (even though, as my reader Kate says, "it's all about me") but I wanted to say keep crafting for family and friends, because you never know where it will take you. :)

Smalltown RN said...

Well another hobby....sewing...yes I have dabbled in that...but not very well....I like what the others have said about selling them...who knows....you could have a little cottage industry going on there......

But I love homemade gifts...you know that giver has really put some thought into the gift.

Sounds like you had a nice day to boot....


masgblog said...

I have memed you my friend...come see...and have fun!

Anonymous said...

I would love to see your bibs when they are finished. My aunt just sent me the pattern for these same bibs. She made some for my son when he was born a few years ago!


Jeni said...

I don't have a digital camera to take pics of these bibs and post them pronto but I guess I'll have to take a couple "group" shots maybe with my handy-dandy little disposable camera and hope they turn out ok. If so, I'll post some photos of the bibs. Who knows, since they're such fun to make, maybe I'll just monkey around making them, posting pics and perhaps, selling a couple huh? Never know what might transpire there.